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Challenges for Digital Proximity Detection in Pandemics: Privacy, Accuracy, and Impact

In the last nine months, the world has seen the emergence of information technologies designed to provide portable proximity detection for the purpose of limiting the spread of respiratory infectious diseases. These technologies include wearables that provide alerts when social distance is not maintained, mobile applications that enable coordination with public health officials to provide exposure notification and/or augment manual contact tracing, and the use of encounter metrics to inform space occupancy limits and environmental controls management. Efforts to address questions about effectiveness and privacy risks are taking place within non-profit organizations, academia, commercial entities, public health and government organizations.
 
This workshop is a forum to discuss successes and challenges associated with implementation of proximity detection technologies and identify areas in which additional effort is required. These areas could be, but are not limited to, privacy and cybersecurity concerns, testbeds, machine learning algorithms, efficacy modelling, new technologies, data and standards, validation and verification, and commercialization. We invite the community of stakeholders to participate in the workshop by sharing their views on future needs for this rapidly developing discipline. The first day features speakers on a variety of aspects of proximity detection and the existing challenges. The second day features a panel discussion and facilitated break-out sessions that provide opportunity for community engagement on ways to overcome the challenges presented in the first day. The final day features a reports from the break-out session and a wrap-up discussion. 

NIST welcomes the submission of technical abstracts for 10-minute oral presentations. Please submit a 1-page abstract by e-mail to: NIST-workshop-pandemic-technologies@nist.gov no later than 12 PM EST, Jan. 4, 2021. Please include presenter first and last name, affiliation, contact e-mail address, and title. Submissions covering any aspect of portable proximity detection are welcome. Specific target areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Epidemiological modeling of the efficacy of electronic proximity detection
  • Public health needs related to electronic proximity detection
  • Ranging technologies
  • Privacy considerations
  • Machine learning algorithms
  • Validation and verification
  • Commercialization
  • Data and standards
  • Testbeds

Workshop Flyer 

Invited Speaker and Panelist Bios

Contributed Talk Abstracts 


Agenda 

Day 1: Tuesday, January 26, 2021 

10:00 AM ET                                 Welcome and Opening Remarks
10:10 AM ET

Who should you be talking to? 3 lessons in interdisciplinary problem-solving

Joanna Masel, Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona 

10:55 AM ET

A Brief Tutorial on Private Automated Exposure Notification for COVID-19

Marc Zissman, Associate Head, Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

11:25 AM ET Break
11:28 AM ET

Real-world effectiveness of digital contact tracing

Luca Ferretti, Senior Researcher in Statistical Genetics and Pathogen Dynamics at the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford

11:50 AM ET

The SwissCovid GAEN app after six months: It’s not just about technology.

Viktor von Wyl, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich

12:47 PM ET

Public acceptance of emerging technologies

Alta Charo, Knowles Professor Emerita of Law & Bioethics, University of Wisconsin Madison

1:09 PM ET

Public health perspective of digital contact tracing in COVID-19 using Bluetoothenabled technology

Meghna Patel, Deputy Secretary for Health Resources and Services, Pennsylvania Department of Health

1:31 PM ET Break
1:40 PM ET Transition/introduction of speakers
1:45 PM ET

Privacy considerations, an overview

Naomi Lefkovitz, Senior Privacy Policy Advisor, Information Technology Lab, NIST

2:07 PM ET

Privacy preserving protocols for encounter metrics

Rene Peralta, Computer Scientist, Cryptographic Technology Group, NIST

2:19 PM ET

Privacy by Design as Infrastructural Power

Seda Gürses, Associate Professor, Department of Multi-Actor Systems at TU Delft

2:41 PM  ET Transition/introduction of speakers
2:45 PM ET

Flipping the Perspective on Contact Tracing

Po-Shen Loh, Founder of NOVID, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, and National Coach of USA International Math Olympiad team

3:07 PM ET

Machine learning based digital proximity detection: lessons learned from the NIST TC4TL Challenge and beyond

Omid Sadjadi, Computer Scientist, Information Technology Lab, NIST

3:30 PM ET

Adjourn for the Day

 

Day 2: Wednesday, January 27, 2021

 

10:00 am ET                                                 

Panel discussion on the effectiveness of digital proximity detection at limiting the spread of infectious diseases

  • Krister Shalm (moderator) Applied Physics Division, NIST and Physics Department, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Marc Zissman, Associate Head, Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Po-Shen Loh, Founder of NOVID, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, and National Coach of USA International Math Olympiad team
  • Mike Judd, Lead, COVID-19 Exposure Notification Initiative, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Viktor von Wyl, Professor, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich
  • Louise Ivers, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Interim Chief of Infectious Diseases and Executive Director of Center for Global Health – Massachusetts General Hospital

11:30 am ET

Instructions for breakout sessions

11:40 am ET

Break
12:00 PM ET

Breakout Sessions 


1a. Applications of proximity detection

What are the different ways proximity detection can be used to limit the spread of pandemics (digital contact tracing, encounter metrics, etc.)?

Facilitator: Leah Kauffman


1b. Privacy 1

How are privacy risks generated by proximity detection technologies understood and managed?

Facilitator: Jessica Staymates


1c. Technologies for Proximity Detection

How accurately can different technologies identify a contagious interaction?

Facilitator: Ashley Boggs


1d. Role of government

What role should local, state, and federal government play in digital contact tracing?

Facilitator: Brandi Tolliver

1:30 PM ET Break
2:00 PM ET

Breakout Sessions 


2a. Implementation

What adoption rate is needed to be effective in different communities? What are the barriers to adoption and use, and how should they be addressed?

Facilitator: Jeanita Pritchett


2b. Privacy 2

What are the greatest challenges to achieving strong privacy properties while delivering effective proximity detection? How can privacy gains or losses be understood with different implementations?

Facilitator: Jessica Staymates


2c. Technology verification

What is needed to verify the performance of proximity detection technologies?

Facilitator: Callie Higgins


2d. Commercialization

What are the barriers to commercialization?

Facilitator: Jeremy Lawson

3:00 PM ET Adjourn for the day. 

Day 3: Thursday, January 28, 2021

10:00 AM ET          

Reports from working groups (10 minutes each)

Moderator: Heather Evans, Program Coordination Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology

11:30 AM ET

Contributed Talks

Moderator: Michelle Stephens, Applied Physics Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology


11:30 am Privacy-Protecting COVID-19 Exposure Notification Via Cluster Events Without Proximity Detection

Paul Syverson, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory


11:42 am Augmenting GAEN with opt-in case linking

James Petrie, WeHealth


11:54 am Adoption metrics for Proximity Technologies

Scott David, Director of Information Risk Research Initiative (IRRI), University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory


12:06 pm Modeling the impact of automatic exposure notification for vulnerable communities

Krister Shalm, Applied Physics Division, NIST and Physics Department, University of Colorado Boulder 


12:18 pm Understanding and Rewiring Epidemic Networks: A Data-driven Approach Towards Enabling Quarantine in-Motion,

Radu Marculescu, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

 

12:30 PM ET Break
1:00 PM ET

Contributed Talks

Moderator: Michelle Stephens, Applied Physics Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology


1:00 pm Interoperable Privacy Preserving Digital Contact Tracing

Yang Yaling, Virginia Tech


1:12 pm Function Secret Sharing for PSI-CA: With Applications to Private Contact Tracing

Steve Lu, Stealth Software Technologies, Inc.


1:24 pm Modelling multipath interference for BLE proximity detection and exposure scoring

Ramsey Faragher, CEO Focal Point Positioning, Fellow in Computer Science, Queen’s College, University of Cambridge


1:36 pm COSMOS Testbed – Proximity Detection and Social Distancing Estimation in COVID-19 Pandemic

Zoran Kostic, Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University


1:48 pm A Simplistic Machine Learning Approach to Contact Tracing

Niamh Belton, ML-Labs, University College Dublin


2:00 pm The Feasibility of Co-location Detection through a Deep Learning Fusion of Mobile Sensors

Sheshank Shankar, Data Science Researcher, PathCheck Foundation


2:12 pm Entropy Based Discretization's and Weight Optimization for Configuring the GAEN system

Nicholas Maynard, The MITRE Corporation


2:24 pm Efficacy of Current Approaches and An Alternative Paradigm for Digital Contact Tracing

Brian Thompson, MITRE Corporation

2:36 PM ET Break 
2:45 PM ET

Discussion and Summary 

Moderator: Heather Evans, Program Coordination Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology

3:30 PM ET  Adjourn. 

View Detailed PDF

 

 

Created November 12, 2020, Updated February 5, 2021